Tag Archives: ricotta

Little Bitty

Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna

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After a very mild few weeks, fall is 100% here and I’m becoming okay with that.  Something about having those extra few weeks of nice temperatures is somehow making it easier – feel like we “cheated” in a way.  The nice weather also made for some strange food overlaps as cherry tomatoes kept trickling in to the markets which are normally long gone by this point.  Again it feels like we’re cheating!  With that, I wound up with a bunch of random vegetables at the end of the week so I decided to just take everything out of the fridge and see what I could do with it.  In the end it came down to a pizza or lasagna and a rogue sweet potato made the decision for me: lasagna!

Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 sweet potato

1/2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 large red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped

1/2 lb lasagna noodles (pre-cook if needed) - about 9 strips

1 1/3 cup alfredo sauce (divided)

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Microwave (or bake) sweet potato until soft - then remove filling and mash with a 1/2 tbsp of butter and a pinch of salt/pepper
  2. Preheat oven to 375
  3. In a small pan heat up the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes before adding the mushrooms and cooking an addition 7 minutes.
  4. Spoon 1/3 cup of the alfredo sauce on the bottom and sides of a 9x9 baking dish. Place the first layer of lasagna noodles then top with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese and sweet potato mixture - using a spoon to smooth out. Top with half of the mushroom and onion mixture then sprinkle with the diced tomatoes and 1/3 cup alfredo sauce. Repeat the layers, switching the direction of the lasagna noodles.
  5. Top with the grated Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses then cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for a final 15 minutes.
http://dancingveggies.com/2015/12/little-bitty.html

 For a different twist switch out the sweet potato for any type of squash – or use a variety of wild mushrooms.  Spinach, swiss chard, or kale would also go fantastically in this dish either fresh or pre-cooked with the mushrooms and onions.  Since my main mission was to clean out the fridge I just used what I had on hand, and it worked fantastically!  If you don’t have alfredo sauce on hand a simple bechamel sauce can also work, tho you might want to add more garlic/salt/pepper in order to keep the dish from being too bland.

In other news, our little one made her appearance last Friday (11/27) and we are 100% smitten.  She arrived at 7:02 am weighing 8lbs 13oz and has the cutest chunkiest little cheeks!.  After years of fertility treatments and wishing/hoping/praying it is such a relief to have her home!

All Over Again

Pasta with Ricotta Herb Sauce

Pasta Ricotta

Welcome back to #HotSummerEats!  When I first started planning recipes for this link-up I had a hard time thinking of my favorite summer recipes as generally during the summer I’m living off of salads which aren’t really that exciting.  To me summer is about light meals with as little “active” cooking as possible and as many fresh ingredients as possible.  Since it’s not yet summer and most of my herbs are still in the youngling stage, I decided to take advantage of the goodies I got from Gourmet Garden.  I grabbed some chunky garlic and Italian herbs thinking they would go perfectly with some grape tomatoes I had picked up at the market – just had to figure out the main ingredient.  With such flexible ingredients, and zero prep, I debated everything from bulgar wheat to orzo to frfalle before going with some thin pasta for fear of picking a grain that would over power the simple herb “sauce” I was thinking of.  A bit of ricotta and I was in business!

Pasta with Ricotta Herb Sauce

Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb thin spaghetti

2 tbsp margarine

1/2 tbsp chunky garlic

1/2 tbsp Italian herbs

1 cup grape tomatoes, diced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup ricotta

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta per box
  2. Drain and return to pot, then add all the remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir well and season to taste with some pepper.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2015/06/all-over-again.html

Did I mention there was a giveaway – because there is totally a giveaway!  A few awesome readers will win some of the incredible products featured during #HotSummerEats.  How cool is that?!?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer – Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds. Pirate Jonny’s, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheffor providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own. I’m so thrilled to be participating in another blog round-up, Camilla you are awesome!  Now that you’ve seen my recipe make sure to check out all the others below.

Faith in Love

Vanilla Ricotta Bread

Vanilla Ricotta Bread

Following behind again with /52weeksofcooking but only one week behind so that’s not tooooo horrible – right?  Anyway, last week the theme for /52weeks was (is?) vanilla!  Simple enough ingredient but of course I couldn’t do something simple, I had to think of something non-dessert.  Which is why I’m a week late with posting this deliciously amazing Vanilla Ricotta Bread.  While I debated going full savory with vanilla, and also debated going crafty with vanilla (bad idea), in the end I decided to go with something somewhat familiar in order to lessen the odds of full failure.   I had made a ricotta bread a few months ago, pre-move, but it was just a bit blah.  I had expected the ricotta bread to have a sweetness to it, nothing as crazy as ricotta cookies – but maybe somewhat close.  Which led me to the awesome decision to add vanilla extract to the bread, and it worked!

Faith in Love

Serves: Yields 1 Medium Loaf

Serves 12-14

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 tbsp white sugar

1 cup ricotta

1/3 cup milk

1 tbsp unsalted butter/margarine

1 egg

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp yeast

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to bread machine in specified order - for mine all dry ingredients (but yeast) go first followed by the liquid ingredients.
  2. Add yeast to bread machine's yeast container, or directly to the mixture.
  3. Set bread machine to standard and if you have the option set loaf to medium.
  4. Allow to cool for at least 30 minute before attempting to cut as bread is very fluffy.
http://dancingveggies.com/2014/02/faith-in-love.html

This bread was fantastic fresh, awesome toasted with butter and jam, and scrumptious with nutella.

Over Unannounced

Potato & Beet Casserole

Potato Beet Casserole

One of the best parts of traveling, in my opinion, if is trying new and exciting and (hopefully) delicious dishes!  One of the best parts of getting home (outside of seeing hubby and puppies) is getting in to the kitchen and attempting to recreate some of those dishes.  After my UK and Ireland adventures I knew that I had to recreate the incredible dish I had in Ireland at Cornucopia – even though I had no idea how on earth to do that.  I knew the ingredients (beets, potatoes, spinach, cheese, and phyllo) but outside of that I had no idea what needed to be done.  Since beets and I are just getting used to each other I decided to grate them, figuring the smaller amounts might blend better with the other vegetables as well as reasoning that round discs might tempt me to just remove them.  The other thing to figure out was the phyllo dough on top but some quick Googling proved that it could be done.   Once I had finished with the research and planning it was time to head to the kitchen, with some pasta and pesto on hand just in case it didn’t work out.

Over Unannounced

Serves 5-6 (main), Serves 8-10 (side)

Ingredients

1 lb butter potatoes, well washed

1 tbsp butter

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp cayenne pepper

3 garlic cloves

3 sweet potatoes, sliced 1/4 in thick

3 medium sized beets, well washed and finely grated

5 cups fresh spinach, roughly torn and divided

1 cup ricotta cheese, divided

4 sheets phyllo dough, torn into strips 1in thick

1 tbsp melted butter

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat and add the butter potatoes, bring to a boil then add a dash of salt and cook for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain, rise with cold water, and then return to the pan. Add the butter and pepper and mix well - set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the cayenne pepper and garlic and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until slightly brown. Set aside
  3. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease a large casserole dish.
  4. Place 1/3 of the grated beets on the bottom of the casserole dish, then add a layer of the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, and ricotta. Continue layering ending with the ricotta cheese. Top with the phyllo dough, making sure that the dough is at least 2 sheets thick. Brush on the melted butter. Bake for 40 minutes or until phyllo is brown around the edges. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then serve and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2013/06/over-unannounced.html

There is something to be said about a pink dish – it just goes well with everything!  While I served this as a simple vegetarian main it would also be a great side dish for company as it comes together quickly and looks rather impressive coming out of the oven.  Still not sure about other versions of beets but after the success of this dish I’m willing to give them a try again, we’ll see how that goes!

Potato Beet Casserole

I’m also sending this treat over to Ren‘s fabulous Simple and in Season since it highlights two vegetables that are popping up in local gardens: spinach and beets! I didn’t grow either of this year due to my trip but my summer veggies are starting to take off so I see lots of peppers, eggplants, carrots, and tomatoes in my near future!

New Friends

Spinach & Zucchini “Lasagna”

Spinach & Zucchini Pasta Bake

Bonus Secret Recipe Club entry!!!!  I’m a member of Group A of the Secret Recipe club but this month I was called in to assist a member of Group B that wound up orphaned.  As soon as I saw the name of the blog I knew I was in for a delicious treat as Heather’s Fit  Mama Real Food blog is stuffed with healthy and easy dishes.  I drove right in to her recipe page as I knew I had no time to lose with this – I needed to pick a WOW recipe NOW.  With the help of my husband I was able to narrow it down to a few (applesauce! refried beans!) options (carrot cake DONUTS!!!), all of which only required a quick stop by the store on the way home.  In the end I avoided the cream cheese icing (seriously??? carrot cake donuts!!!) and went with a healthy dinner option: Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna.  I had to make a few changes to the recipe (ricotta for cottage cheese) and also changed it from a lasagna to a pasta bake since I wanted the dish to be done before the incoming storm (and potential power loss).  Honestly this recipe is more like two recipes since you get a simply awesome tomato sauce as a bonus!

Spinach and Zucchini Pasta Bake

serves 4-5

Ingredients

2 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh basil, minced

1 onion, chopped

2 zucchini, diced into moons (sliced in half length ways, then small moon shaped pieces)

4 cups frozen spinach, thawed and the excess water pressed out

28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

6 ounce can tomato paste

16 ounce can tomato sauce

1 lb whole white rigatoni

12 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese

2 beaten eggs

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sauce, garlic, basil and half the sea salt. Simmer uncovered while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. Add the zucchini to a medium skillet (coated with olive oil spray) and cook over medium-high heat until the zucchini is browned and soft. Set aside. Add the onion next and cook until soft and translucent. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, boil water and cook noodles until al dente - drain and set aside.
  4. Combine ricotta chese with eggs, pepper, the remaining sea salt, and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl or food processor.
  5. Place a scoop of the tomato sauce in a 13×9 in baking dish, making sure to spread it along the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Spoon in a third of the noodles, then a third of the ricotta cheese (spreading evenly), following with another spoonful of sauce. Repeat - finish the final layer with the grated mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake at 375 for 30-35 min. Let stand 5-10 minutes before digging in!
http://dancingveggies.com/2013/06/new-friends.html

Make sure to check out Heather’s blog for all her delicious recipes – as well as pictures of her adorable baby.